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Statewide Labor Day survey polls work hours, job security

Posted: September 2, 2009 1:03 p.m.
Updated: September 3, 2009 1:00 p.m.
LOS ANGELES -- Labor Day will be a much needed day of rest this year for Californians, as approximately half of the state's employed workers are working harder, toiling longer hours and experiencing less job security than they did two years ago, according to data released today in the California Labor Day Survey conducted by Harris/Decima on behalf of Everest College.

The statewide survey found that 51% of employed Californians are experiencing heavier workloads and 53% have less job security than they did before the state's economic woes and recession took its toll.

With the state's unemployment rate leaping to a record high of 11.9% in July, its highest level in more than half a century, many Californians are seeking solutions to cope with a bleak employment picture, according to the survey.

The economic slump and challenging job environment in California have caused 43% of those who are employed and 50% of those who are unemployed to consider returning to school, the survey said. Specifically, 29% of employed Californians have considered returning to school to obtain skills for a new career and 27% have considered returning to school to enhance their careers.

"California's budgetary woes are compounded by the country's recession, creating a perfect storm for workers throughout the state," said John Andrews, regional vice president of operations at Everest College. "Californians are not sitting idle in the face of job uncertainty - many are seeking skills training or other educational programs to secure employment."

For example, as of June 30, enrollment at Everest's California campuses rose 28% when compared with the first sixth months of 2008, in large part due to the popularity of Everest Colleges' healthcare programs, which include medical assisting, dental assisting, and medical insurance billing and coding.

Laboring Longer
Almost half (45%) of Californians are working longer hours to keep up with California's rising cost of living. At the same time, the study found that 57% of Southern Californians indicated they are working harder, versus 46% of Northern Californians surveyed.

Meanwhile, almost a third (29%) of the state's residents said they will be working during Labor Day weekend, with 15% planning to work eight hours or more. Californians with an annual household income of less than $40,000 are feeling the most heat, with this income bracket representing the greatest percentage of workers (43%) who plan to log at least eight hours or more during the holiday weekend.

Worry at the Workplace
Even though a majority of workers (64%) are generally satisfied with their jobs, the survey found that there are pockets of discontent and dread within various aspects of work life.

More than half of all workers (53%) agree that their level of on-the-job stress has increased in the last two years. The same percentage of Californians said their job security has declined, specifically those aged 35-49 (59%) have less job security than those aged 50 and over (42%).

If they lost their job, 40% of respondents said they would consider leaving California to search for a new job, with Southern Californians (46%) and men (45%) much more likely than Northern Californians (33%) and women (33%) to leave the state.

Additionally, in the next 12 months, 27% of survey respondents said it is likely they will be laid off and 40% believe they will be forced to take a cut in pay or benefits.

Education is the Solution
While conducting a job search, nearly a third of Californians (29%) said furthering their education would make them more attractive to prospective employers.

"In the past two years, a considerable number of Californians have come to realize that their careers are quite susceptible to the winds of economic change," Andrews said. "The survey revealed that many Californians have contemplated returning to school to carve out a new career, and Everest College programs address high-growth occupational areas that will meet the state's skill shortages, offer work/life balance, and provide personal and financial rewards."

By the Numbers: California Labor Day Survey Fast Facts
-- Including commute time, 41% of Californians work more than 10 hours per day
-- 19% of those with less than a high school education work more than 11 hours per day
-- The state's financial crisis (43%) was voted by Californians as the most pressing economic problem, followed by jobs (27%) and education funding (15%)
-- 35% said they have less time for family and friends since the economic downturn due to longer working hours
-- Three-quarters of Californians (75%) agreed that employers need to make work/life balance more of a priority

About the Survey
The California Labor Day Survey was conducted by Harris/Decima teleVox amongst 600 California adults (500 employed & 100 unemployed) from July 6th through July 14th, 2009. Results among the full sample are accurate to +/- 4.0 percent 19 times out of 20.

About Everest College
Everest College provides career-oriented diploma and degree programs in healthcare, criminal justice, skilled trades, business, paralegal, and information technology. Everest College has 14 campuses in California - Alhambra, Anaheim, City of Industry, Gardena, Hayward, Los Angeles, Ontario, Ontario Metro, Reseda, San Bernardino, San Francisco, San Jose, Torrance, and West Los Angeles. Everest has 100 schools in the U.S. and Canada, and is owned by Corinthian Colleges, Inc., one of the largest post-secondary education companies in North America. For more information, visit


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